Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Good Samaritan

There was a buzz in my ears and my head went light. There were strange creatures in my stomach…and my heart skipped a beat.
(No, I wasn’t about to experience the Mills-and-Boonsy first kiss. Have been married for 3 yrs…what were you thinking?)

It is just that being “good” sometimes makes you sick (especially if you are out of practice). This time, literally.

I had bravely volunteered to donate blood in response to an email at work, urging employees to be noble. Am sure the sudden popularity of vampires (thanks to Twilight and True Blood) has made blood donation pretty fashionable. But my reasons were different (am too old to buy vampire stories or santa clauses). I volunteered just for the experience…and of course, to feel good about doing something good.

It was pretty amusing in the start, especially answering questions like:

  • Have you had male-to-male sex? (which was a compulsory question irrespective of your gender!)
  • Have you ever been paid for having sex i.e. received gifts, cash etc? (Amit does give me flowers occasionally…does that count?)
  • Have you had un-protected sex with multiple partners? (with my luck, NO!!)

Anyway, our group entered the Australian Red Cross office at 10.30am. We would be done by 11.30am at the most, we were told. We all had meetings to go back to. So we were donating two things really…our blood and our time. Having worked for some blood-sucking companies in India, this would be cake-walk.
Or so I thought!

After a formal round of interview with a handsome and kind Red Cross officer (I was beginning to reap the harvest of my noble work already), I had my blood pressure, blood iron content and body weight measured. What I lacked in the first two, I sufficiently made up in the last.

And then I lay in a reclining chair, watching Australian Open on a Plasma screen in front of me. There were at least 50 other people lying on similar chairs, elbows resting on colourful cushions and holding spongy balls to squeeze on to ensure a rhythmic flow of blood. You could make out between first timers like me, who clinched their fists and put in more effort than needed to look relaxed. And then there was the “been-here-done-this” category who chatted and laughed with the nurses.

I was doing pretty well, I was told. Except one time that my blood flow wasn’t enough and the nurse told me to change the rhythm at which I squeezed the ball (sounds pretty gross…but that’s exactly what he told me). So I changed the rhythm…and the happy corpuscles oozed out in joy, as if liberated from a body they didn’t fancy much.

When the 500ml pouch was filled to capacity, the needle was removed. I felt a funny buzz in my ears…and the cells on my face seemed to dance a little. But in 5 minutes, I was fine and I headed to the cafeteria for some refreshments.

I asked for a cold coffee…and the next minute, someone was telling me to quickly lie on the floor with my legs up on the chair. This rocks, I thought. Not only free refreshments, but a free body massage as well!! But before I realised, people started fussing over me. Someone fanned me…a colleague made sure my skirt wasn’t on top of my head in the incorrigible position (thank god I was wearing my tights underneath!)…someone said “Call a nurse”, while the one who was fanning me, snapped back “I AM a nurse”. I hadn't a clue what the chaos was about…but I couldn’t stop laughing either. A wheelchair arrived from somewhere and I sat on it, feeling happily dizzy. By this time, my colleagues had caught my contagious laughter…and I caught one of them holding her stomach while she laughed. At this, another nurse asked her “Are you feeling sick too?” And she couldn’t stop laughing to muster a decent reply.

Anyway, I left that chaotic scene on a wheelchair. I was taken to a small corner with curtains all around (guess that was because they didn’t want to scare off the other donors). They took my blood pressure, and it was considerably low. I had managed to stop laughing by now and stared at the blood pressure measuring machine, praying for some decent score. No luck, still. Seconds turned into minutes. I was forced to eat two chocolates (They said “It’s good for you”…wow, no one has ever said that before. I was falling in love with the place). After about 20 minutes, the monitor looked happy and I was allowed to go.

How my colleagues blackmailed me (with posting pictures on facebook, or at least the intranet, of me lying on the floor with my skirt up, laughing like one possessed) is another story. But they also said that just before I …errr…”took the floor” my face went white as paper and I did not respond to a question someone was asking me. How could I? I was concentrating on the buzz in my ears. That’s when they realised I was crankier than I usually am.

Only last week I was telling a friend that I haven’t been blogging for a while because nothing “interesting” seems to happen around me anymore. As they say, be careful what you ask for!


Madmax said...

Jeez ! Be careful ! .. Paakami korte ke bolechilo :-) .. But an awesome read, as usual .. I loved the 3 questions that they asked you .. Ha ! Those were hilarious :-)

Shoma said...

I'm so glad to have you back here and writing :)

At the blood donations we organized in coll, people probably thought we were going to infuse them with the some anthrax or some bovine plague or something instead of taking whatever li'l anorexic blood that they may even have had! Who knows?!